News / Saskatoon

Unique vodka experience returns to Saskatoon’s King of Kovbasa event

There is more to vodka than ordering bottle service at the club.

John Vellinga, president of Slava Ultra Premium Vodka, is an aficionado of the alcoholic beverage.

“We want to show people that there’s as much of a difference between brands of vodka as there is between types of red wine or Scotch whiskies,” said Vellinga.

For the past three years, Vellinga’s Ontario-based company has partnered up with the King of Kovbasa celebration of Eastern European sausages in Saskatoon to auction off his Vodka Experience.

This year’s event takes place on Feb. 6 at Prairieland Park and all proceeds are donated to the READ Saskatoon literacy organization.

“It’s been going for a couple thousand dollars every time,” said Vellinga. “People are looking for unique experiences.”

Successful buyers along with 25 guests receive a taste test of premium brands, instructions on how to mix perfect drinks as well as a lesson in the history and science behind the 600-year-old spirit.

The activity has been used for training liquor board professionals, corporate social functions and even private parties, Vellinga added.

“Everyone drinks vodka in something, whether it’s a Caesar or a martini,” he said. “But almost no one knows anything about it.”

While Vellinga is a Canadian entrepreneur, his distillery plant is located in the historical birthplace of vodka right in the heart of present-day Ukraine.

“The level of expertise is just staggering,” he said.

The Vodka Experience is only available through charity auction, which is a creative approach to marketing Villenga said he learned from Saskatchewan businessman Brett Wilson on the Dragons' Den TV show.

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